Monday, May 30, 2016

island countertop installed

Matt McGrane over at Tiny Shop Woodworks asked about the finish for the sapele countertop...Couple months ago i asked the guys at MacBeath what to use for countertops and they pointed me to this food-safe treatment called "The Good Stuff". It is a gel that you smear on, then wipe off. it's hard to go wrong and you can build layers slowly until desired protection. since i wont be cutting directly on the countertop. 3 coats seems to give good protection against water and I feel safe putting a beverage with condensation on it without rings forming immediately. Although truth is I don't really care about that kind of wear/tear on the kitchen. Rings, dings, and dents, that's all kind of what happens in a "user" kitchen.
the island countertop is clenched to the lower cabinets using some tiedown buttons that fit into 1/4" grooves i built into the rails when I was milling them up. I think I was lazy here. Instead of weak grooves just 1/4" thick running the length of the rail, I should have placed them deeper and not run them all the length of the board. I did it this way because I was milling grooves for the 1/4" panels and just kept my router setup the way it was. Well if these blow out i know how to fix it, and I can do that if need be.

Friday, May 27, 2016

island countertop in sapele 2'x8'

Earthsource Lumber in west Oakland had a *this much* flatsawn 4/4 sapele, warped and wowed. Sad to hear they will be going out of business next month. THey were an oasis of magnificent odd lot timber, just down Addeline street from me.

well i needed to make a kitchen island countertop, roughly 8' long and 2' deep, supported by two lower cabinet bases. The idea would be similar to how i made the passthrough countertop for the kitchen/dining room threshold. Take the flatsawn, rip to 1,7/8" wide strips, laminate, breadboard end, presto.

I make sure each board is ripped and laminated sequentially so that the grain on the side looks consistent. You end up with swooshes consistent with one another this way
I did a multi-stage lamination for a couple reasons. First to avoid the glue skinning over by the time i would have taken to glue up the entire piece. But also because I wanted to joint/plane each component board in my 12" capacity jointer/planer. once the pieces were thicknessed, I did a final glue-up of the two sides for the final assembly.
I neglected to show the joinery going on here, but it's a garden variety breadboard end, with a stub tenon going the entire width, and 3 1,1/2" tongues going deeper into the end so that they can accept a draw-bore peg.
I used a scraper plane and a card scraper to smooth most the tear-out from my planer. I also used a ROS using 100grit followed by 120grit.

Finish is called "THe Good Stuff", which is a food friendly wood countertop preparation. It feels pretty tough and builds nicely. 3 coats is all i want.

Imagine this slab being placed on the two lower cabinet units in the middle of the floor here

Saturday, April 23, 2016

kitchen uppers installed

Upper cabinets were finished and done earlier this week and last couple days were spent installing them. A nerve wracking endeavor and i was remiss on taking pics of some of the more ugly parts. there are so many things to remember when installing plywood boxes into unsquare/unplumb field. I allowed myself some room on the upper part of the exposed ends to scribe into the walls.

below, to the right is the stove hood upper cab. background are two flanking cabinets over stove. left on saw-benches is the bigger left hand side upper, adjacent to fridge surround.

I elected to use some surplus shelving brackets screwed into the wall below where the cabinets would be installed so that I could place them, shim them to level/plumb and then spend hours worrying about making sure all adjacent pieces are oriented.

also, had to reposition the romex a bit so that it will go into the aft knock-out port of the hood

The right side trio of cabinets were the hardest. I had scribed the part above the window into the wall before clamping them together. the wall ended up bowing outward so this made life hell because i then had to shim everything to the right of it to keep the scribe hugged to the wall.
There will be a two step molding along the top. a continuous ribbon along the horizontal intersecting with the top of the window
Here's a quick snap i took of the upper left cab, after installing and finding out it was 3/8" out of square. Had to take it down, remove the 1/4 ply back, wrack things into square with my camo tie-down and then reskrew the 1/4 ply back into place. WOrked okay this time, but best to try building square in the first place, hombre
I try to leave messages into unseen parts of the built-in work as a joke to whoever might see them in the future

Monday, April 11, 2016

kitchen pass through cabinetry and trim molding progress

trim molding is a deep pit to dive into, but necessary when releasing all your hard earned square plywood boxes into the unsquare, wild and wiggly world of a 105 year old house!

I chose to install these painted lower cabinets 3/4" proud of the surrounding drywall/lathplaster opening. this complicated things because the casement molding that surrounds the opening has to butt up against the face frame assy. of the cabinetry. You want to avoid having the spring of the interior curve of your casement on a lower plane than the cabinet's frame, which is exactly what I set myself up for here. The result is we'll have to fur out the casing a bit in order to make it look OK with the cabinet.

Here's what i'm driving at below. you see how i've lifted the casement molding off the wall and we'll have to lift it even further to get it looking alright. Tim and John both had mentioned just trimming the inside curve a little bit via table saw and this will help push the spring of the curve out further.

I have the mostly finished upper done today. Skrewed into the top and side with GRK cabinet screws. It is not attached to the countertop on purpose. it's just about a nickel's thickness over the countertop you see here. The idea being that I can remove the countertop and refinish it at some point (using "The Good Stuff"). also makes painting the cabinetry easier without masking tape.

I might have some little white shims under the cabinet that could also give the appearance of plinth blocks to allay any worries held by serendipitous, classically trained, neurotic guests, worrying about what i'd done...

I did not have much of an overhang on the countertop, so the "ear" you see where it overlaps the vertical trim is let into the trim a bit.
here's some more shots of the countertop construction. It's a lamination of a bunch of flatsawn sapele, ripped and turned to make it quartersawn. I chose this approach because the flatsawn boards were bound to have movement issues and i couldn't do a good job grain matching them. This way there is a sort of randomness to it, though not *too* random as I kept the strips in sequence and made sure to clock them all the same direction.

drawbore pegs driven home for that breadboard end. very satisfying indeed.

also, here you can see how the sapele is not full thickness. I figured it would be a waste and I have since attached some transverse oak battens with expansion slots for the skrews. this should help keep the board from cupping too much (i hope)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

handle/knob location test

I'm pretty sure you want to center knobs on the level defined by the inboard edge of the rail in your door panel like so
Still not sure how to locate the hoop pulls for drawers. Are they centered on rails for the frame/panels, or do you locate them at the center of the panel itself of the topmost frame/panel, and then use the same distance from top of panel to locate the handles on the lower, deeper drawers?

Option A (I'm leaning towards this one). I center the drawer pulls on the top 2 solid drawer fronts. These are 5" high drawer fronts. I then center the shallower depth frame/panel pull, and then take this offset from the top edge and apply it to the final, lowest handle.

Option B

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Another view of kitchen pass through with architect's post framing the entry

After installing all the lower cabinets into the kitchen today, I quickly threw together some hardboard pieces to form a 4" x 18" post that was originally drawn up on the plans and have placed it where it would be. THis was painted just with Zinsser's 123 white primer and dried quickly.

Sarah's thought was maybe to leave the post out as we could have some sort of sculptural piece on the end of that countertop. either a large vase/floral piece, or maybe a bronze sculpture that my uncle gave us. And yet, this picture does not fully block out the architecture since there will be another upper cabinet above the lower white ones to my left here. The uppers will only extend out over the square-ish filing cabinet drawers are, stage left. My thinking right now is to not worry about this until those cabinets are installed since the overall look will be quite different with them in place.

The (infinitely) patient architect is Tim Larkin, and he very kindly sent me some other mock-up sketches late yesterday showing some alternative views of what it could look like with no post, or with a smaller post inboard a bit. Tim wasn't so sure about the inboard post, and I'd agree. The open plan looks good, but it goes in a direction that might not be supported by the "craftsman bungalow" theme. Hard to say...
Here are some more views of the kitchen from the other direction. Sarah was out of town this week and got back just a little while ago and was really happy with how things are moving along. That's pretty much the best you can hope for :-)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

so much work, not enough time photodocumenting it

We're navel-deep into our remodel of the kitchen and bathroom for our house. No sink to shave out of so a pelt of facial hair ensues and it's all good. The plan is to have a post going from the peninsula of cabinets to my left up to the ceiling soffit. The column was going to be 4" thick and butt up against the end of the cabinets but my carpenter and me feel that might be too tight and so maybe we move the column inboard and have it start from the top of the cabinets instead.